An undergraduate placement is a year out of a student’s degree in the industry they want to work in. For the relevant subjects, they are often part of the degree structure. Students must complete the year to fulfil the credits for their degree. In other cases, they are an optional part of a degree.
The student spends the entire academic year working for an organisation as a full-time paid employee. And then the student returns to complete their final year at university. Some students will be assessed for their undergraduate placement, which will then be put towards their final degree classification.
Students must be guided through this year to ensure they make the most out of their time within an organisation. The more prepared an employer is to have a student as part of their team, the better experience it will be for everyone involved. Without the right structure and planning, it can be easy for a student to be pushed to the side with no real responsibility, which can leave them feeling unmotivated.
Here are some ways to help students make the most of their undergraduate placement:
- Introductions. When the student first arrives for their placement, it’s worth taking the time to introduce them to all of the staff members who work in the office, or are part of the remote team, no matter their role. This can be a massive help to students and can help to build their confidence when speaking to staff. It removes any awkwardness and ensures good communication.
- Assign them a mentor. By assigning a student a mentor, it means they will always have someone to turn to with any issue or problems they have. It can be a good idea to assign a graduate or an early-careers staff member as their mentor; this way, the student will be able to learn about career progression and life after the placement.
- Move them around the business. Unless they have arrived with a specific role or department in mind, it’s a good idea to move the student around during their year in your business. This way, they will learn about all the different elements of the company and can find what suits their skills.
- Regular feedback. Schedule a few one-on-one feedback sessions throughout their year with you so you can check in with their progress and smooth out any issues.
- Stay in touch. This has been a tough year for students and graduates, and any help employers can offer will be much appreciated. By staying in touch with students who you enjoyed working with, you can keep them in mind for future projects.
Have a look at our guide to the benefits of hiring graduates, and check-in with our opportunities board to see available undergraduate placements.